Thrilling times ahead for jazz fans

Josh Hozheri

A FEW days after the world commemorated International Jazz Day on April 30, exciting developments started brewing in Zimbabwe.

Jazz fans, just hold your breath for a moment.

The International Jazz Day was declared by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 2011 in an effort to highlight the importance of jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people across the globe.

This year’s International Jazz Day was commemorated at the United Nations’ Head Office in the United States’ New York City.

It featured global jazz icons who shared the stage with top Africans singers, Ray Lema from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegalese Gregory Porter as well as Alune Wade.

And now for the business of the day.

Thrilling times lie ahead for local jazz fans as veteran music promoter Josh Hozheri of Jazz 105 promotions has woken up from a deep slumber.

Hozheri is bringing back the once very popular Winter Jazz Festival after a 10-year long sabbatical.

The festival is sure to re-ignite the jazz spark that had long left the jazz community.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, Hozheri said the two-day festival was set for July 29 and 30 in Harare.

“The Jazz Winter Festival is making a comeback. The best line up of the performers is going to be released once contracts are finalised,” Hozheri said, adding that current trends show that the consumption of Zimbabwean jazz was still positive.

“I am a jazz fan and in the past, I have brought a number of big names in the country like South Africa’s leading jazz singer Jimmy Dludlu, the late popular Lesotho artiste Tsepo Tshola and South African trumpeter and composer Bra Hugh Masekela.”

Hozheri implored corporates to support the genre as in other countries.

“There is great appetite for jazz music and the genre needs to be celebrated across the world. It is soothing music that appeals generally to the mature people,” he said.

“It’s only that we lack dedicated venues and festivals unlike in other countries. In other countries jazz festivals are held week in week out. Across the Limpopo, there are quite a number of jazz festivals with the Cape Town Jazz Festival being the grandest jazz gathering in Africa.”

Hozheri has also challenged fellow promoters to adopt a business approach in arts promotion in order to lure international and local corporates into investing in Jazz and the music industry at large.

“Promoters need to be professional and respect their contracts with artistes. I also suggest a gender balance on selection of artistes as well as an introduction of the up-and-coming artistes to guarantee continuation and learning from the seasoned,” he said adding that there was jazz talent in Zimbabwe evidenced by the emerging jazz groups that have increased in the last decade.

“Musicians need to be professional and be able to exercise the basics like doing sound checks before a show. Most performances have been affected by this,” he said.

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